How to freeze corn

Corn (1)Every fall we devote a few hours to freezing some of our abundant corn crop.  It’s a fairly simple project, but after three people in two days asked me how we do this, I thought it might be worth offering a brief tutorial here.

Start by husking the corn and removing all the silks.   My kids have discovered that rubbing a dry washcloth gently on each ear assists greatly in removing the pesky silk. Then the corn needs to be blanched.  Fill the biggest pot you own about 3/4 full of water, and let the water come to a rolling boil.  Once the water is boiling,  set as many ears of corn in the pot as can be submerged, and let it cook for 3-5 minutes.  Remove the corn from the pot.

At this point the official wisdom is to immediately plunge the corn in ice water for a minute or two, to stop the cooking process.  If you only have a moderate amount of corn, no problem.  But we tend to have such ridiculous amounts to process that I run out of ice quickly, and frankly, I don’t see any problem with the corn continuing to cook for a few more minutes.   So I simply set the hot corn on the counter on a nice absorbent bath towel, and let it cool.

Corn (2)

Once it is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off the cobs.   You can use a special doohicky if you have one, but I find that a nice sharp knife works quite well. About 6 passes of the knife down the length of the corn cob, rotating the cob a little with each pass, does a great job of removing the kernels.  You want to go deep enough to get most of the kernel, but not so deep as to cut into the sharp membrane kernel-holders stuff deep in the cob– you know, that stuff that gets stuck between your teeth if you bite too deeply into an ear of corn.

I find that it works well to cut the corn onto a cookie sheet or casserole dish, because the lip of the dish keeps the corn contained. Another option is to set each ear on the center post of a bundt pan so that the cut kernels of corn fall into the pan.  Once you have a good heap of corn cut, you can transfer it to whatever storage containers you’ll be using.

CornThink about what constitutes a reasonable amount of corn for one meal for your family.  The year I chose to use gallon size ziplocks, I regretted it.  Packaging was easy, but the quantity was just too much to use in one meal.  This year I froze some corn in 3-cup plastic containers, and the rest in sandwich size zip-top bags that hold about 2 cups of corn.   I’ll need to thaw a couple bags for a side dish for a meal for my family, or maybe just one bagful if I want to add corn to a winter soup.

Once the corn is packaged, with as much air removed from each package as possible, simply put the bags or boxes in the freezer.  You’re ready to enjoy late-summer corn goodness all year round!

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